Radioactive Decay of Candium

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In this simulation, learners use M&M™ candy to explore radioactive isotope decay. Learners pour out a bag of candy and count and record the number of candy pieces that have "decayed" or show the print side up. Learners get to consume the "decayed atoms." Then, they will shake the bag again and recount the decay. Learners will continue shaking, counting and consuming until all the atoms have decayed, and then graph the results. This activity is a great introduction to half-life and nuclear decay. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per student)

  • M&M™ candy pieces
  • resealable bag
  • graph paper


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Geologic Time
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Nuclear Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Nuclear Chemistry
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • taste
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access with registration